A new start for COM commencement speaker
Posted on: May 08, 2014
COM’s graduation ceremony will be a celebration of second chances for Michael Garcia and the 513 other members of the College of the Mainland 2014 graduating class.
Garcia, 34, of Texas City, will share his story during commencement for Associate of Applied Science and certificate graduates at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Abundant Life Center in La Marque. The 10 a.m. ceremony the same day will award COM graduates with an Associate of Art, Associate of Science or GED.
More than 10 years ago, Garcia left college to work two jobs to help care for his ill grandfather and provide for his family. Though he became successful in health care administration, Garcia realized he needed a credential to advance and that for him COM’s process technology program offered that fastest route to success. Garcia returned to COM in 2012 and determined that this time, nothing would prevent him from finishing.
His goal: quickly return to the workforce to support his family by completing the five-semester process technology program in 18 months.
“I was a little apprehensive about coming back because I’ve been out of college so long,” said Garcia.
Taking advantage of COM tutoring and labs, Garcia took four eight-week classes the first semester. His first transcript thrilled him: four A’s.
He determined to maintain his 4.0 average and excelled. He received a COM scholarship and competitive Shell scholarship open to students across the nation.
“The next victory was getting inducted into Phi Theta Kappa (the national community college honor society), then being a finalist in the speech competition, and now giving the commencement speech,” said Garcia. “Can it get any better than that? It’s because of God’s grace and blessing that I was able to accomplish this goal.”
Now having completed his dream of graduating in 18 months with a 4.0 average, he is proud to share his story – and to be an example for his three children, ages 3, 7 and 8.
“They’re excited. My daughters will say, ‘Look, I brought home A’s like Daddy does,” said Garcia. "I like that I am able to be an even better role model.”
He graduates with a paid summer internship at Marathon Petroleum.